Analyst cuts Ameriprise Financial rating
BOSTON (AP) — A Credit Suisse analyst on Tuesday lowered his rating of Ameriprise Financial Inc., saying the financial services company's ability to return value to shareholders is fully reflected in the stock's price following a recent gain. The analyst, Thomas Gallagher, also cited recent cash flows out of the company's Columbia asset-management unit.
THE OPINION: Gallagher cut his rating to "Neutral" from "Outperform." He also cut his fourth-quarter 2012 earnings estimate, while raising his target price for the stock to $67 from $65.
Gallagher said in a note to clients that Ameriprise remains in a strong position to return capital to shareholders as a result of its cash flow and earnings. But he said that ability is "now fully reflected" in the price after shares of the Minneapolis-based company have risen more than 16 percent since mid-November.
The analyst also noted recent weakness at Columbia, with clients' withdrawals from mutual funds and other products exceeding deposits. Based on industry data, Gallagher estimated that Columbia posted net withdrawals of about $1.7 billion in November and $1 billion in October.
Gallagher said the he sees "potential for more negative news out of the stock than positive, especially on the flows front." He said "outflows seem to have taken a turn for the worse following some improvement" in the third quarter.
Ameriprise acquired Columbia in 2012 from Bank of America for about $1 billion in cash.
THE STOCK: Shares of Ameriprise fell $1.39, or 2.1 percent, to $63.86 in midday trading. The stock is down from a 52-week high of $66.03 reached on Friday. Shares traded at a 52-week low of $45.17 in June.